Monthly Archives: October 2004

Web 2.0 – Brendan Eich, Mozilla

Web 2.0 High Order Bit
Brendan Eich, Mozilla
10/7/04 The browser is back, which is why Longhorn is irrelevant in the web application world. Firefox is 2% of the web so far, according to websidestory.com. You can go to sites with a RSS link, or use the RSS button in the button corner to subscribe to the feed. Longhorn has a laundry list including graphics optimized into the GPU, but is it worth the price? Also, XML declared UI widgets and layout, which Mozilla has.

E4x boosts XML productivity.

Momo project: www.go-momo.com

Cairo Vector Graphics: www.cairographics.org

Irrlicht 3D Engine: irrlicht.sourceforge.net

Dirac Video Codec: www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/direac/

Web 2.0 – Larry Lessig, Stanford Law School

Web 2.0 High Order Bit
Larry Lessig, Stanford Law School
10/7/04 I wrote a book on free culture.

Stephen Manes said it was horrible. He wrote about it in Forbes – it was #2 on Google.

Text journalists take advantge of the freedom of speech. The freedom to remix without permission. Remix is changing the democratic culture. It is the power to speek. It is about a bottom up democracy, not a NYTimes democracy. It’s a blog democracy, or p2p democracy. The architecture of this form of creativity was enabled by technologists, by you.

The problem is that it is illegal to remix in other types of media. All content is inherently copyrighted and requires permission. Text journalists say it’s simple to get permission, but it never is.

This is a new problem. The potential is new and the restrictions are new. Technology has changed. And restrictions have massively changed. Before 1978 we had a opt-in copyright system, now we have an opt-out system. Before 1978 some content was controlled in some places. After, it was all controlled everywhere.

We’ve gone from a free culture to a permission culture.

There are consequences… for politics: Robert Greenwall wrote a movie called Uncovered. It included a nbc interview on Meet the Press with the President during which they asked why he went to war. NBC said Greenwall couldn’t use the clip because it was very unflattering to the President. In an environment with less Press conferences and more single interviews, there is an incentive for the news organizations to be nice. We’ve privitized the presidency.

After Greenwell’s movie Outfoxed in 2004, it was said that quoting journalists and criticizing them puts them at risk. They have a huge exposure and no protection. Is this free speech?

Chilled.

Text-heads think “it’s simple”. They’re oblivious. What’s the harm? “terrorists” Without remix, we can’t teach.

The Induce Act is a huge threat to our free speech – don’t think it’s dead.

You can’t sell anything – it’s a lawyer’s culture.

In 1839, Lous Daguerre invented photographs, which were expensive and small. George Eastman made Kodack photography, which was inexpensive and the market took off. The question was asked, do you need permission to capture images – to pirate someone’s image? No. Images are free. Free results in market explosion. But what if they weren’t free? And you needed permission to take a photograph? What if they passed the Daguree Machine Control Act (DMCA)? Photos would be unfree, and you’d have a slow market.

Remember. Free speech makes Manes free. Brilliant or juvenille – commenting on something is a freedom worth fighting for. Make the digital culture free.

We need balance.

We need sanity.

We need an end to apologists extremists taking us from free to unfree.

Web 2.0 – Kim Polese, Spikesource

Web 2.0 High Order Bit
Kim Polese, Spikesource
10/7/04 Web 2.0 and the IT renaissance is about going from an egosystem to an ecosystem.

Strange things are happening in IT. Brazil throws out Microsoft. Regions of Spain, Germany and Belgium are adopting open source. The US Department of Defense pushes for open source. In 1776, they called it the tea party. It’s a revolution, from the bottom-up.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. The top down system worked for a long time. The industrial egosystem has worked well for Ford, JP Morgan, Carnegie. Top down software was a natural for its time.

Then the net came. Which is a whole new software habitat. It’s home on the range for developers. It allows for end to end communications. And soon the new ecosystem was filled. Customers didn’t need to drink the expensive tea anymore. They could make what they wanted. It started with open source adoption. Now, open source is going mainstream. We’ve been evolving for a long time towards this point. We tried good ideas in object oriented programming, but we were all stuck in our own silos.

Web 2.0 demand began to supply itself. Programmers and users are turning markets upside down. We have the Wikipedia, blogs, podcasting. The view from the top is not happy. Microsoft doesn’t like open source. Nicholas Carr says that IT doesn’t matter, it’s a cost that needs to be controlled. IT is not strategic.

In the new ecosystem, the real hero is the IT guy. It’s driving change. He looks like outsource fodder. IT is turning phone booths into WIFI hot spots in NY city. IT is unwiring whole cities. It’s turning old mainframes into new Linux server farms. It is driving hardware and licensing costs to the floor. It is making bosses happy.

The Net and open source were both built on the same principles. Nobody owns it. Everybody can use it. Anybody can improve it. IT gets better naturally. By using debugging by thousands of people you don’t know. Everyone participates in a mature market. New opportunities are opening up to be filled by commodities. But there are too many commodities right now. IT is drowning in component choices.

Need a company which assembles software like Ford assembled cars.

Introduction to Spikesource, which pre-integrates open source. We’re an open source IT services company. We have an automated system for assembling software. Deep computer science is involved. We have an automated framework for accomplishing this. Our alpha was available in March and our public beta in December. We have automated assembly, deployment and lifecycle management in a validated, tested and integrated system.

Web 2.0 – Bill Gurley – Investing in Online Games

Web 2.0 High Order Bit – MMORPG
Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital
10/7/04 We’re going to break into the business of MMORPG which are the realization of the environments in Snowcrash. MMORPG stands for massive multiplayer online role playing game and is based on the text-based online games called MUDS or Zork. The first graphical MUD was Ultima Online. NCSoft has the leading mmorpg game, City of Heros. Also, Lineage and Lineage II. There are also Shanda and Sony’s Everquest.

Why are people passionate about mmorpgs? We’ve seen the prosecution of in-world theft in the real world in Korea. Also real world retailation. There has been the resale of digital assets and accomplishments on eBay. People have shown that they can earn a real life living playing games.

There is an untapped market in the IM market for casual games and avatars. The gaming communication and social networks are colliding.

Neopets has 23 million users and is targeted at children. It has all the aspects of a multiplayer game. And offers HTML lessons so that kids can build their own guilds. And it is extremely sticky. Kids will spend a lot of time there.

Lindenlabs has come up with a new mmorpg called SecondLife. They’ve built the development tools which allow people in the world to create the world. It’s essentially a 3D programming environment.

Why are mmorpg’s a good business? They have recurring revenues in montly fees. They have network effects with increasing returns. They offer real competition and include a large amount of time engaged by the players. There is unlimited complexity available and even with the high risk of failure, there is a high reward. The average successful mmorpg lives 5 years and with a sequel can live another 5 years.

Web 2.0 – Dale Dougherty, O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Web 2.0 – High Order Bit
Dale Dougherty, O’Reilly Media, Inc.
10/7/04 O’Reilly is proud to announce that we have developed hacked books. With SafariU (www.safariu.com), we’ve allowed teachers to create, publish, and share teaching material. It allows professors to hack textbooks to create custom books by using multiple sources. If you do a search for a subject, and find a chapter from a book you want to include, just select it and add it to the table of contents for your hacked book. The pricing mechanism is based upon the number of pages printed. We have a 100 page minimum.

Make.oreilly.com is a magazine filled with do it yourself projects. It’s Martha Stewart for geeks. She recovered arts and crafts and make it important again and brought it back into the present. Popular Science and Mechanics of the 50s felt like hacking (mostly farm implements). This is a quarterly magazine. We have an example of how to make your own setup for kite a erial photography – your eye in the sky. The author claims to ‘own 250 feet’ because airplanes can’t get that low, so you can take pictures of the tops of buildings. This magazine teaches technology like we use cooking – make something and then share it with others.

We’re also working on an open source photo notes project to go with the magazine.. Which creates digital anotation of photos from projects. You can record on the project or comment on other projects (on the website for the magazine). It gives a sense of collaboration. We use the open source annotation of jpgs (which has been adopted by Flickr).

Web 2.0 – From the Labs (Google, IBM, Microsoft)

Web 2.0 – From the Labs
Peter Norvig, Ph.D., Google
Richard Rashid, Ph.D., Microsoft
Jim Spohrer, IBM Jim:
IBM has worldwide labs. What you might not now is that we collaborate with research facilities around the world in research and development activities. We’re working on measuring the spin of a single atom which will allow microscope to do 3D imaging of molecules. Blue Jean is the fastest computer in the world and is working on the protein holding problem.

IBM is working to establish service science. 50% of our revenue comes from the services business. 50% of GE’s revenue comes from their services business. Product companies are turning into services companies. The whole global economy is doing this. Why? The labor foce is shifting into services. But the educational world isn’t doing enough to teach about services innovation.

Peter:
We’re working on statistical machine language translation. We’re using named entities and world clusters to allow the computer to understand meaning better. Our machine translation takes one language in and outputs another language. We’re using a statistical approach which takes into account phrases, templates, discriminative training and lots of data. Our Arabic to English translation is not quite fluent, but it is completely understandable.

Demo of named entities: We break text into sentences and then match sentences against patterns. We discard noisy data and regularize over names. We also use the relations of concepts and the nesting sets of concepts to understand the concepts.

Richard:
Microsoft is working on empowering the individual through the democratization of science and enabling new forms of social information. We have terraserver which is a 98 terabyte web database. Also, skyserver.sdss.org which is a server and services that includes information from worldwide astronomy databases (such as iova.net and skyquery.net). We’re working with the NIH (National Instititute of Health) to create a central database of their published works called PubMed. Also, wwmx.org and wallop.com.

Web 2.0 – Mitch Kapor, Open Source Applications Foundation

Web 2.0 – High Order Bit
Mitch Kapor
Founder and Chair, Open Source Applications Foundation
10/7/04 We’re going to take a look at what’s wrong with politics and how technology can help. We have a broken political system. In the past we’ve gotten rewards for the types of businesses that thrive in the valley. We’re the people that the system works for, but how do we make the system work for everyone?

Our country was founded on the principle of self government. In our government today, that idea is in great peril. Is self government a meaningful concept in 2004?

It was meaningful to the ancient Greeks. Those traditions were an inspiration to the founders of our country. We might not call them founders but entrepreneurs of democracy. If you could re-animate them in Washington DC today, what would they think? They would be horrified. Our government is corrupt and deeply dysfunctional. We have 13 registered lobbyists for each elected representative. The real deals are made out of sight and money is what buys influence.

Who’s buying the politicians? Corporations would rather play the game of the system rather than make something work in a true market economy. Wrongly conducted businesses is not the sole cause of the problems, but things have gotten highly out of control. We were not meant to have a highly centralized government. We should have a system of checks and balances, but the American citizen is dropping out. We’ve seen voter registration go up for this election. Is this a sign of the beginning of a turnaround or just one event?

The local level is even worse. 10-20% of the popular vote will put a mayor in office. The current system makes people feel alienated. Politics tries to manipulate, not engage. We have to hope that the damage is not yet too great. Apathy and alienation is dangerous.

Is politics broken? Yes. Does technology have a role in fixing it? Yes, in part. Technology has broken some problems. Broadcast media is one of the biggest problems. The Net and Open Source can give us inspiration in how to revitalize politics. In the Howard Dean campaign, which ended all too soon, we saw the use of the Net to mobilize and communicate. Moveon.org goes right to the voters to help change politics. We represent the 1st generation of online community where large and complex problems have been solved without strong centralization. If Thomas Paine was alive today, he would have written Uncle Tom’s Cabin on a Linux laptop.

Open Source is based on a practice that integrates a set of tools and principles. The Wikipedia is a free, high quality encyclopedia with 400,000 articles. It has thousands of contributers. It is useful and quite stable, despite the fact that any page can be accessed by anyone at anytime. There are an extensive set of principles that people in the community have agreed to be governed by. There is transparency in being able to see the source code and all the bugs and notes of design.

Today we don’t know when governmental staff meet or when lobbyists meet them. Government information is increasingly less available due to security concerns. It doesn’t have to be that way. Bloggers in the left and right have begun to hold government more accountable.

The challenges we have today are to develop the tools and community practices. Regardless of who wins this election, we need a fundamental change to repair the system and that is not going to come from the political establishment from either party. We need a popular reform movement, which is internet based and includes a broad representation of the American people. This prospect invites our close attention and participation as technologists, business people and citizens.

Web 2.0 – Lessons Learned, Futures Predicted

Web 2.0 – Lessons Learned, Futures Predicted
Dan Rosenweig, CEO Yahoo!
Marc Andreessen, Chairman & Cofounder Opsware, Inc., co-founder Netscape
John Battalle, journalist
10/6/04 John:
What mistakes were made that have been repeated?

Dan:
How much got done and how much was created. There were a lot of mistakes in stupid people doing stupid things, but a lot of energy creation. Doors opened up with Netscape and things got ahead of themselves. Greed ruined things faster than it should have.

Mark:
The same mistakes keep being made over and over for the next 3,000 years. But there is an unending opportunity in this industry. There are an unending number of ideas we can explore. We’re lucky to live in an environment that allows us to.

John:
Let’s start at the beginning. Yahoo has a browser. What do you think of the future of the browser?

Mark:
The most amazing thing about the past was that Microsoft got a monopoly in the browser market and then didn’t use it. They didn’t do what they did with software for the web. They have an Internet services without using the leverage of their browser – it’s just the default search and homepage.

Everything that they did in the 90s was illegal according to the government. It’s amazing that they haven’t done more creative things – creative manipulations to software APIs to take out their competitors. We have a whole generation of Internet companies and 90% of people are still coming into these from the Microsoft browser.

John:
In terms of the browser, RSS has become huge. Where might it go? Integration point of the browser and server?

Mark:
There are lots of things you can do. Netscape had a long list. Browser innovation stopped in 1998. Firefox is getting attention and Safari has started innovation again after 6 years of nothing. Microsoft will respond. They love to screw with other businesses.

Dan:
Well don’t keep waking them up! Innovation will come around services and the user experience. It’ll be about what people can get and what they really want. Early Netscape things have come to fruition now. From a competitor standpoint, the more we try to cage people, the less likely they are to stay in the cage. RSS is a big part of My Yahoo! We have 200 million to 300 million people using it per month. Just when people thought it was all over.

John:
Are you going to create client software for Yahoo?

Don:
We’ve done well without it. But music needs it, messenger needs it. There are things you can do with a client that you can’t do on the web. But without connecting it together, its irrelevant. Yahoo now has a browser!

John:
We spoke earlier about owning data being the new lock-in. Do you see that happening?

Mark:
We saw this in the 1990s. The power of the web is about sharing things without permission. That’s an energizer for innovation. Open source has compounded that at the code and protocol level. Software is more and more open.

John:
Yahoo vs. Google. You guys have registered users and Google does not. How does that affect things?

Dan:
Data is essential in this industry. We’re moving from a world of mass media to a world of my media. This is the core of what data can help drive. But data lock-up is a situation that leaves companies vulnerable. When someone finally unlocks the data, the company falls apart. Like online travel services, they own the data and operate through contracts.

Mark:
This is coming from a company that said tell us how to use APIs and maybe we’ll give you some.

John:
When do you see a Yahoo API suite?

Dan:
We can’t do everything over night. We can’t just change everything. Yahoo has tried over the past 3 years to become more open and more accessible. We’re far from perfect but that’s the direction we’re moving in.

Mark:
There’s a striking list of things you can’t do yet. You can’t take a profile from one place and put it somewhere else. Online email transfer from one service to another is impossible. Patterns are setting up towards high levels of data lock-in. As strong a form of lock-in as with software licenses.

John:
What about small businesses which are allowing you to share?

Mark:
There are a lot of ifs ands and buts. Like social bookmarks. Lots of people have gotten rich legally by putting in terms of service and technological restrictions. Yahoo has been more open than most. Most large Internet companies are closed. The business advantage is huge. I’d say we have a 10 year lock-in at least.

John:
Consumers have strange habits with technology. Never start a media business that assumes that consumers are going to change their habits for you. That’s a difficult business to be in. Is that still true? Can you start something that gets people out of their current habits? With a 10 year data lock, we should start something tomorrow to get around it?

Dan:
Search can change habits. No one is required to do anything. At the end of the day, better products and services win out. Certain companies have an advantage. Small companies have a different advantage. Business is business. There are share shifters that have really valuable services for long term value and monetary investment.

Mark:
The cellular and mobile business shows a future. Globally they have a huge number of units. The hot cellular vendor switches fairly quickly. There is no brand loyalty or lock-in with so much innovation. Search engines had an avalanche of switching when new ones came out. There is so much information and so many different communitities for ideas to spread virally, we’ll see a lot of turnover of brands and services. Marketing people don’t expect people to shift behavior, but we’ve already seen shifts with Internet and mobile phones. Marketing insisted that people wouldn’t use mobile phones until the sound quality was good. With mp3s there were lots of hoops to jump and lots of people jumped, even breaking the law to use them. People are willing to try new things without marketing or advertising. Consumers are getting more and more aggressive to seek what they want.

Dan:
It’s too easy to change, so most people do. The technology barriers that existed when Mark started his company don’t exist today. You can leverage technology and experience together. Just don’t make it hard because people are willing to do it.

John:
The big debate of the late 90s was Netscape vs. Microsoft. Microsoft fought bitterly because of this idea of a Net OS. This idea has come back?

Mark:
Microsoft won’t notice this time (joke).

John:
In a Web OS, will Google be one of the principle actors?

Mark:
This is fascinating because Google is being led by the nose, willing or unwilling, into a direct confrontation with Microsoft. Everyone is spoiling for a fight. Sun has been frustrated by Microsoft. They took a swing at them and ended up being hit by Linux instead. It’s not clear where the actual competition between Google and Microsoft is yet. But the ecosystem is pushing this. The Google guys are smart and creative, and I’m sure they’ll find ways of dealing with this. I’m not sure what form the battle will take, but Google will probably do some surprising things.

Dan:
We’ve been talking about technology, software and Web Os. But you should turn it around and ask what do the users want. Better companies will get in front of what the users want. It’s someone else’s problem if people want a fight. Make sure you’re doing what is relevant to want users want. Technology talk is fun and great for blogs, but we need to focus on the consumer.

John:
Consumers are reading blogs.

Dan:
Just don’t get whipped up on what so and so says. Stock prices can’t control you. Just create value over time.

Mark:
Platforms are great when they work. You can build on top of someone else’s platform if you have access to APIs and code. There are an interesting set of questions with respect to platform and OS vendors. Musicmatch and ipod can’t connect with each other. As these problems shake out, we’ll see a channeling effect.

John:
You’ve both built companies. With this experience, where would you building your next company?

Dan:
There’s this new notion of my-media and publishing when you want. The web is the most selfish medium ever created. We’re going to start to see the linkage of things from the desktop to the web and in other devices. The web is going to become ubiquitous.

Mark:
If you take a look at the number of users on the Internet, the cost has declined to build an Internet business. Bandwidth is falling in price. The people price is falling. On the business model side, we’ve cracked the code on advertising as an industry. There is 10 times the amount of revenue you can recover as before.

Dan:
There used to be only 3 or 4 companies that could take in ad revenue. Now, anyone can.

Question:
In RSS space, there’s a building momentum behind the roach motel strategy. Meta data goes in, but it never comes out. Are you committed to open source for meta data?

Dan:
We won’t commit to anything. There are a lot of issues around data… privacy, security and business issues. We’ll take more time than people want us to. But we’ll all surrender to what the user wants.